calligraphy, desert landscapes, odd animal portraits

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Early May 2021

On Monday April 26 at about 11 AM I lost my balance, pivoted 180 degrees, and fell into a hole, badly spraining my right ankle. Suddenly I am immobile, and more isolated that before. Luckily I was in Canyon- I tried to crawl but couldn’t move. I yelled and yelled until Art heard me, and came out to lift me up and carry me to the house.

I have been laid up in bed, being taken care of, well fed with healthy food; and, obviously, unable to work. Pluto stationing, heading back into my 11th house, Mercury and Venus piled up on my natal sun- Whew, I just narrowly escaped having to plan a 70th covid-tinged birthday gathering.

I am sketching a bit in my (s)crappy sketchbook, and it is really fun and soothing. I just found this little metal case, very handy for a small drawing kit.

April 2021

My sentiments exactly

I have a number of online classes I signed up for and not done much with. There is one that I have found approachable because the instructor’s demeanor is approachable, mild, funny, not at all intimidating . . . creating animal characters for storybooks. I have some critters around that I am drawing- little bigfoot, my stuffed animals as the Brementown Musicians, and some random animals around the studio.

March 2021

I had a lovely hike with my friend the homeopath. We were able to rant and outgas our outrage at the various effects of Stupid19, which seems to have become the new #metoo. Afterward I saw this photograph in a local tabloid and tweaked it a bit. Apologies to George Floyd.

It is astonishing to me how every new mind-control trend sweeps away any and all previous fads, and obliterates discernment in people I once thought anti-corporate and self-autonomous.

The Shattuck Theater re-opened, with re-strictions, so Art and I went downtown and saw a movie- Nomadland. No hot dogs at the concession, and pre-poured, one-size-only popcorn, $6. Here are some items of beauty I found on the street. The chair is what I believe to be in the Eastlake (victorian era) patters, matching the hardware in my house of that period. I intend to reupholster it, sans springs, but saving the horse hair.

stain painting

2.2.21

I am still not using the Roofing House- too cold and wet. There is very little damage, I got everything out in time, and I like the split, having my watercolors at home, and the more rough materials here. There will be some work to do once the weather dries out.

I inherited a stack of ecru dinner napkins, and last year was playing with acrylic inks. They are so absorbent it is hard to lay down a brush stroke. Maybe they need to be damp. Hmm, that can be arranged. I used flow-aid in places, and some folding and transfer.

also messing around with grayish sky colors.

xmas lockdown

12.30.20

Against the advice of our keepers, we snuck off to Santa Rosa to visit a mask-free paradise of art and food and friends. The tree, as ever, was spectacular. I took a book of Edward Curtis photos, and came back with a large monograph on Monet, and a vintage travel set of winsor-newton watercolors.

The move to Berkeley has been productive. I am mixing media, playing with brush lettering, and touching up old pages.

vintage w/n set; sennellier travel tin with 6 additional colors

Merry Christmas Lockdown

12.24.2020

It has been a long time since I have done any calligraphy practice. I just downloaded some classes, and am starting out by filling some warmup pages. In January I’ll be back at the desk with an oblique pen and some sparkly new inks from Fox and Quills, LA, CA, USA. Until then, happy new year, everyone.

Soggy Doghouse

11-15-20

Oh dear, the rains have come, and I am so happy except . . . the Roofing House, nestled as it is in a redwood grove, is damp and dark and suddenly all my sketchbooks and papers and other frail things have to be moved. Again. I brought a stack of books in and wiped down the covers, but tins of watercolors and drawing papers and source materials and sketchbooks need to be boxed up and moved to Essex Street for the winter.

I have some classes lined up to download, calligraphy and figure drawing and portraiture, I can just as easily- perhaps more easily- work from there.

One thing I did this fall was these little maquettes, possible prototypes, like 3D printing, only done by hand. Can’t get a better photo right now with everything packed up, but here is the krop-otkin bumper sticker prototype, and the word “wood” built up from paint to look like wood.

Oh well, upload won’t load. Just as well. It’ll be my little secret

we built us a patio

11.2.2020

Creative expression- a giant wood pile we converted to a sunny 9.5×10.5′ “patio”, two folding adirondack chairs I found on the street and painted, a rusty sewing machine I wired as a night light; a balsa wood model Spitfire I got from a gardening client, a sketch of a big rat the cat left for us; and my new blue blockers.

weirdly clumping paint

9.23.20

There is a strange thing I am experiencing with acrylic paint. 

Early in the day on Wednesday September 22 I brushed a glaze of gloss medium and phthalocyanine blue onto an old canvas, and also did some collage with a different bottle of gloss medium.  

That afternoon I was using Liquitex chromium oxide green that I had earlier transferred to a jar, and thinned with medium and a bit of local spring water (w/ iron and who knows what else!).  The paint in the jar was creamy consistency, but when I put my wet brush in it, the paint on the brush came away clotted, like miniature cottage cheese curds.  

I put that aside, put a bit of fresh tube chrome green in a clean dish, and used a clean brush with distilled water-  the same thing.  I tried a clean, dry brush, other paints, other brands, so far, everything immediately turns to clots.

Golden fluid acrylics green-gold
reacts to a clean brush w distilled water.

I am trying to paint without brushes –or painting the clumps out with a stiff brush, as in painting on bare wood which I did last night.  In the case of the gold paint suddenly skinning over – no.  After a few minutes exposed to air, mixing turned it to a strange solid mass without any sticking power.

a clump of Liquitex BASICS tube gold-
a small bit of Golden interference blue cottage cheese on the right side.
Daler-Rowney bottled Phthalo Blue seems ok! Very liquid. Very old.

So far Palette knives seem ok.

So, What? Extreme heat this summer? dehydration? sunspots? redwood pollen? Three outer planets retrograde in Capricorn . . ? I had used windex on a sheet of glass nearby last week, and am feeling some kind of residue on my hands today.

I am pretty sure ash and resin from the crazy smoke and fires settled on my brushes, activated the polymers and caused them to clump, and/or quickly skin over. 

I had seen a similar reaction once when I accidentally put rubbing alcohol in paint.  I have a lot of (mostly) old paint, never had this happen before, except thickening through evaporation, often resolved by thinning w/ medium.  Old paint just dries up.

So, cleaning all brushes, palettes, rags, glass working surface with clean water.

Meanwhile, cottage cheese might be a fine texture/technique, worth playing with, until I get this sorted, and/or, go shopping.

 

Life on Mars

9.9.20

California is aflame- we went camping but had to head north because Yosemite was booked and the forests were being evacuated. After a smoky and daunting Monday and night at 9600+ feet- -Pacific Coast Trailhead parking at Sonora Pass- -we came home Tuesday, to awake Wednesday September 9 to Mars Stationing in Aries, and a red-orange sky that lasted all day.

“Sinister!” “Apocalyptic!” shouted the headlines– Dorcas posted an interesting article about the scattering of blue light by the amount of ash in the air. There was little smoke at this altitude (600 feet, about) and for me, it was “Beautiful!” “Fascinating!” and that sort of thing. I only wish I’d spent more time out in it, maybe get a blue tan?

facing south 9 am, a true color, and ash falling
9 AM, facing east
channel 2 news- we had camped just south of the clear spot below South Tahoe/Markleeville